*Each Monday, Prophet’s Chief Curator and Provocateur, Andy Stefanovich, or a member of our innovation team* shares a Monday on-ramp with Prophet employees across the globe. We’ll begin sharing them here, and encourage you to join the conversation by answering questions and providing your own comments below. Happy Monday!Prophet’s very own Nadia Tuma is rocking the corduroy jacket and elbow patches, teaching a Masters level strategic brand consulting course at the School of Visual Arts. The course focuses on taking “the theory of brand and making it real.” Over the semester, Nadia and her class are going to apply a variety of “traditional and non-traditional tools and frameworks…to think about and solve for today’s business objectives.” That quoted part is from the syllabus. (How cool is it that Nadia has her own syllabus?) Nadia is using facebook to coordinate with the students, setting up a class page to facilitate collaboration among the group. As part of the second week assignment, she has asked the group to think about real world objectives they can focus on over the duration of the class. The students have been posting “challenges” the past couple of days – rapid fire without any direction other than “think of a challenge we can work on this semester.” At first glance, the topics range from the socially conscious to the more practical, with a mix of the sublime. When you start to dig in a little, you see themes emerge – topic areas that reflect the students’ passions and curiosity. I took the raw list of fifty questions (as of Thursday evening at 8 PM) and started to group them into larger topic areas. There were quite a few social themes – from sustainability to health, community building, and intrapersonal relationships. Challenges range from “how do we turn the post office into a community hub” to “how can we integrate rainwater into our system as a source for various needs” to “how can games save the world.” These are exciting, ambitious topics – the “bigger big” challenges that have the potential to change the world. There are also more “practical” challenges that are informed, I imagine, by the direct experience of the students. Challenges like “how can we reinvent the umbrella” and “how can we make the act of ‘washing the dishes’ more desirable” and “how can we reinvent the movie theater experience.” (For the second challenge I imagine the student struggling with how to incentivizing a roommate to clean up after himself.) While not as altruistic as the “bigger big” challenges, I think these are more ambitious. There is a brand manager for each of these categories (umbrellas, dish detergent, and movie theaters) that is thinking about these same issues right now. How do I build a brand around an infrequent purchase product like an umbrella? How can I increase market share for my detergent without resorting to price promotions, which will hurt the brand? How do I increase my revenue in the face of declining ticket sales? Regardless, it’s exciting to see students being given the unique opportunity to think about something for the sake of thinking. Fifteen weeks of recreational thinking and the curiosity and the permission to ask “what if we…?” If you had the opportunity to think about something for fifteen weeks, what would you focus on? What are you passionate and / or curious about? *This week’s on-ramp was brought to you by Geof Hammond in our Richmond office.
On site at The Creative Leadership Academy, Andy Stefanovich introduced the idea of “finding your CLA crush.”
Share your CLA Crush with us this Valentine’s Day. Do you have someone who’s work or ideas you connect with, someone who is passionate about what they do and who inspires you towards your own creativity?